The U.S. Navy announced Wednesday that it will name two Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyers after Marine Corps Sergeant Rafael Peralta and Navy Medal of Honor recipient John Finn.
Peralta was killed during combat in Fallujah, Iraq, according to information from the office of Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine). According to a UT San Diego story, Peralta covered a grenade with his body to save his fellow Marines from the blast. Finn was recognized for his actions during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor at the beginning of World War II. He died at age 100 at his home in San Diego in 2010, according to the article. Some credited Finn with single-handedly shooting down a Japanese aircraft. To read the full story of these war heroes in the UT San Diego story, click here.
Hunter successfully offered an amendment to the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act, urging the Navy to name the next available vessel after Peralta. Hunter also introduced legislation in the 111th Congress urging the Navy to name a ship after Finn, according to a news release from his staff on Wednesday.
“For Sergeant Peralta and John Finn, this is recognition that’s well-deserved,” Hunter stated in the release.
“This is a very special day for Sergeant Peralta’s family, in particular. They have waited patiently for the Navy and the Department of Defense to recognize the actions of Sergeant Peralta, which are consistent with the Medal of Honor—an award he was nominated for but was wrongly denied. These combat heroes are as tough as the steel used to make these ships and they are proud examples of the unrelenting fighting spirit of America’s military," Hunter stated.
“It’s also good to see the Navy finally returning to a more traditional convention of ship-naming. Hopefully it stays this way, and the Navy will stick to the high standard it set for itself in this latest set of ship-naming decisions.”
On Tuesday, Hunter sent a letter to the Secretary of Navy urging the naming of a vessel after Peralta. Read the letter here.